Monday, September 20, 2010

Ring the Alarm!

My boyfriend and I often say that Walter is an “urban bunny.” Admittedly, Walter was born on a small farm in Maryland, amongst several other rabbits, two goats, and a handful of chickens. But at a mere two months of age, he was brought to our downtown DC apartment: an entirely different landscape.

I thought the transition might be a little difficult for him. Our neighborhood is up-and-coming, meaning that it’s in the process of redevelopment and so parts of the neighborhood are brand spankin’ new, while other areas still breed poverty and crime. As such, police, fire, and ambulance sirens are a common noise. We also live near a baseball stadium, so fireworks are another common disrupter. I know these sounds used to startle my dogs, so I assumed they would be also be painful to the sensitive ears of a rabbit.

But Walter is unfazed. He’ll perk his floppy ears up every now and then, but generally goes about his day unaffected. The dishwasher disposal, another hair-raising noise that we try to protect him from, gets little more than a quick look between hops. Other noises, like alarm clocks and microwave beeps, get recognition, though not full-on attention, but nothing triggered Walter’s response to sound like the smoke detector.

I don’t even remember what I was cooking. What I do know for certain is that I left it in the pan for just thirty seconds too long. As smoke filled the kitchen faster than our stovetop hood could vent it out, I asked Paul to prepare for the smoke detector’s alarm. This entailed setting up a dangerously wobbly stool underneath the alarm, having various tools in hand to disable the detector, and finding a thick pillow to muffle its beep.

We weren’t prepared. Before Paul could even get to the stool, the alarm went off in all its glory. Walter, who was resting underneath the couch, darted out, ran three frantic laps around the living room, and dashed back to his hiding spot under the sofa. He stayed there for two hours after we silenced the detector, refusing to come out even for a sprig of basil.

I’ve heard of other rabbits who don’t like the sound of certain musical styles, other animals, or household appliances. What’s your rabbit’s noisy pet peeve?

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